Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Willian is reportedly closing in on joining Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala for £29m, according to the Daily Mail.
Willian has been linked with Premier League clubs Chelsea and Tottenham for most of the season, with Andre Villas-Boas a known admirer of the player.
The 24-year-old was believed to be of particular interest to Spurs throughout the summer. Club chairman Daniel Levy even had discussions with the Ukrainian outfit over a deal but the initial offer of £11.8m was knocked back. Chelsea remain long-time admirers of the Brazilian. And recent reports also indicated Premier League champions Manchester City were considering a bid.
Rumours Willian would move on from Ukraine gathered steam after Shakhtar announced the signing of his compatriot, Taison, earlier this month. The 25-year-old forward signed from domestic rivals Metalist Kharkiv and was also a reported target for the Blues.
Chelsea and Spurs were boosted by news of disagreements between Willian and Shakhtar manager Mircea Lucescu but Anzhi's involvement appears set to rob the English clubs of their long-term target.
Willian's importance to Chelsea is underlined by the fact the club have to plan for the summer departure of veteran Frank Lampard. The 34-year-old midfielder will not be offered a new contract when his present one expires. Spurs, meanwhile, have compensated for the potential loss of Willian and that of Brazil midfielder Sandro to a season-ending injury by announcing the signing of German midfielder Lewis Holtby.
Benitez Surprised after Reading Draw
Chelsea dropped points against relegation-threatened Reading in the midweek fixture. The Blues were leading through goals from Juan Mata and Lampard but were rocked by two goals in the final five minutes of the match from Adam Le Fondre. Interim manager Rafael Benitez admitted to being surprised with the result and claimed his side needed to be more clinical.
"We are surprised because we were controlling the game for 85 minutes. For the last free kick we made too many mistakes... we had chances to kill the game; we didn't take them and we paid for it. The main thing is we could have scored three or four goals and finished the game," Benitez explained.
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